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Meet Our SWIMkids USA Family



Our Staff



Meet instructors Sarah and Shaunna


SWIMkids USA is lead by a group of talented and energetic professionals dedicated to your child's success in swimming, gymnastics and dance. We have redefined the "lesson" experience for thousands of children by providing a unique, creative, animated and remarkably challenging style of teaching that keep children active, smiling and safe!


Lana Whitehead

Lana Whitehead
President, Founder

Lana Whitehead has owned and operated SWIMkids USA since 1971. The swim program is the result of Lana's Master's thesis which included four research projects tested and researched at Arizona State University. Lana has authored several swimming books, articles, videos, and has lectured internationally and nationally for professional education and swim forums.

Mrs. Whitehead received a Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Physiology and a Masters in Special Education, specializing in Sensory Integration and training children with disabilities, including signing to the deaf. She holds Arizona and California Teaching Certificates and is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine. She is certified in American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor, StarGuard Lifesaving, CPR and First Aid for the Professional Rescuer and YMCA Adaptive Swimming Instruction.

Lana has been a competitive swim coach and served as a State and National USA Swimming Official. She and her team continually strive to meet higher standards in the industry by attending numerous training workshops and seminars at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, U.S. Swim School Association and the World Aquatic Baby Congress. In 2012, she was inducted into the U.S. School Association's prestigious Hall of Fame.

Melissa Sutton

Melissa Sutton
General Manager, Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona Board Member

After graduating from the University of Utah with a bachelor of science in pre-med biology, Melissa went on to receive a two-year post-graduate certificate in non-profit management from Arizona State University. Melissa came to SWIMkids USA from the non-profit field, formerly granting celebrity athlete wishes at Make-A-Wish Foundation. She is also the owner of Risinger Consulting and Event planning, an event planning firm. Melissa's other community involvement has included serving as a volunteer for the Arizona chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a former officer in the East Valley Rotary Club, a mentor for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation's Team-In-Training program, and as an advisor for several Valley non-profit organizations through Arizona State University's school of Non-Profit Management. In her free time, Melissa enjoys traveling, scuba diving, skiing, spending time with her husband, sons, family and friends, as well as training for marathons and triathlons while raising funds for causes close to her heart. Melissa is currently serving on the board of the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona.

Alma Blanco

Alma Blanco

Alma is a swim and gym instructor. She is lifeguard, CPR and AED certified. Alma enjoys helping students be safer around the water. She appreciates the opportunity to impact the lives of children in a positive way. Alma has a baby boy, a dog and she is working hard in nursing school.

Amanda Acuna

Amanda Acuna

Amanda is an aquatics instructor, safety director, graphic design director and marketing coordinator. She is StarGuard/ASHI certified trainer who is also certified in CPR, first aid and lifeguarding. She has an AA in visual communications and has non-violent crisis intervention certification. Amanda loves helping to educate children and the interaction with their parents. She says she knows the skills she teaches can save their lives. Amanda says with goals like water safety and swimming as a sport, she knows she is helping children grow mentally, physically, and emotionally. She says she feels incredibly fortunate to help children learn confidence, decision making, self control, and a joy and passion for persevering through fun and challenging skills. She and her husband enjoy spending time with her two daughters and they like travelling and eating interesting, new kinds of food.

Andrew Rangel

Andrew Rangel

Andrew is a swim team coach and camp coordinator. He's CPR first aid, lifeguard and water safety instructor certified. He enjoys knowing he is helping children be safer around water and feels accomplishment when he can help them gain confidence to overcome their fears. He likes watching the students become more independent and healthier individuals. Andrew started swimming at SWIMkids USA when he was a baby and his first teacher was SWIMkids USA's founder Lana Whitehead.

Angie Bagnoli

Angie Bagnoli
Executive Assistant

Angie is an aquatics instructor, and also responsible for SWIMkids USA's customer service experience, childcare and she is an executive assistant. She is lifeguard, CPR and first aid certified. She enjoys knowing that what she teaches enhances her student's development, confidence and ability to enjoy swimming in a safer way. Angie is a mom to a young daughter and a unique skill is that she is very talented in etch-a-sketch.

Annette Bailey

Annette Bailey

Annette is in charge of SWIMkids USA's front desk and retail operations. She loves meeting all of the families who come into SWIMkids USA and has made many new friends here. Annette loves hiking soccer, fishing and reading books on positive thinking.

Anthony Ray Alvey

Anthony Ray Alvey

Anthony is a pool and gym instructor. He has had special training for this position. He likes knowing he can make a positive impact on children's lives and he says the best part is hearing a student laugh and have fun while they learn. He loves all sports but swimming is his favorite. He likes music and sometimes sings and plays guitar.

Ashley Cissell

Ashley Cissell

Ashley is a front desk specialist, swim instructor and a deck manager. She has CPR and lifeguard certification. He likes to help her students be safer around water and especially likes it when they are having fun while they learn. Ashley swam on competitive swim teams for 8 years. She is going to school for organizational management.

Brandon Whitehead

Brandon Whitehead
Director of Training

Brandon is an instructor, aquatic trainer and coach. He is CPR, swim coach and lifeguard certified. He has an Associate Arts degree. He likes the feeling that he is preparing students to be as safe around water as possible and truly enjoys seeing when a student has fun in class. His passion is helping a child feel a sense of accomplishment with overcoming their fear of water. Brandon enjoys participating in water sports and riding ATV's on trails or sand dunes. He's been teaching for more than 25 years.

Britt Kimball

Britt Kimball

Britt is the creativity specialist who is an important member of the marketing department for SWIMkids USA. She has been a swim instruction for 24 years and a master instructor since 2004. She is trained for the front desk, gym and deck managing. Britt has graduated with a masters of occupational therapy. Britt has a bachelors of arts degree in sociology and behavioral science. Britt has two daughters who consider SWIMkids USA home. She's their girl scout leader. A fun fact about her is that she has been to 45 different states.

Bryan Crane

Bryan Crane
Director of Teams

Bryan is team director head deck manager, swim coach, swim instructor and pool tech. He is a USA certified and American swim coaches certified coach. He has a Bachelor of Arts in kinesiology. Coach Bryan is CPR, first aid and lifeguard certified. He not only enjoys making children safer around water, but he loves to assist students with their goal setting and achievement. He works to inspire them to desire a high level of dedication to their goals. Bryan is a father of four who enjoys hiking, biking and fishing in his free time.

Bryce Whitehead

Bryce Whitehead
Assistant General Manager, Assistant Team Lead, Head Coach of DTAC 10 & Under Elite, and Aquatic Instructor

Bryce is a swim coach and the assistant general manager for SWIMkids USA. He is a certified swim coach. He enjoys seeing the excitement on a student's face when they accomplish their goal and know they are performing at their best. He enjoys reading self-help books, working out and listening to music.

Chet Lake

Chet Lake
Director of Aquatics

Chet is Director of aquatics an aquatics instructor and a coach. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology and is US swim coach and starguard lifeguard certified. He enjoys seeing his students learn and grow up before his eyes.

Daryl Phelps

Daryl Phelps

Daryl is a gym instructor. She enjoys watching her students progress and share their excitement when they learn a new skill. She is going to school to learn to be a physical therapy assistant.

Diana Moreno

Diana Moreno

Diana is a camp counselor and she helps SWIMkids USA with child care. She is certified in CPR. She loves having the opportunity to help children learn something new every day and loves watching them have fun. Diana has played soccer all of her life and she is a cosmetologist.

Elizabeth Ashe

Elizabeth Ashe

Elizabeth is an aquatics instructor who is working on her college degree in early childhood education. She loves the look on her students faces when they realize they have accomplished something they worked hard on. She does triathlons and has both a dog and a chicken.

Erin Boelter

Erin Boelter

Erin is a senior aquatics instructor, camp director and customer service specialist. She says her students make her feel so proud of them and she enjoys seeing them grow, learn and develop. She is going to school to be a pastry chef and a fun fact about Erin is that she likes carousel horses.

Eva Brocki

Eva Brocki

Eva Brocki was born in the Czech Republic and came to the United States in 1998. In high school, she participated in volleyball and gymnastics. She worked as a nanny for seven years and now works as a preschool teacher. She joined SWIMkids USA in 2008 as a gym instructor. She says that "working with children is her passion. I like to see their faces when they accomplish a new skill or move up." She has a son and likes to work out at the gym and eat healthy.

Isaac de Masi

Isaac de Masi

Isaac is a gym and swim instructor, a customer service representative and a maintenance technician. He is a member of USA gymnastics and a certified lifeguard. Isaac enjoys seeing the progress of his students and loves seeing them have a good time. He is a father of two children. He likes music and is a percussionist.

Jace Serna

Jace Serna

Jace is a front desk specialist and swim instructor. Jace loves to see a child grow, develop and meet their goals. Jace builds computers, writes poetry and likes to camp.

Jay Wimmer

Jay Wimmer

He is a gym instructor and customer service representative. He was a competitive gymnast during school and he is CPR and first aid certified. Jay enjoys watching his students grow as athletes and individuals. He says it is great to see them accomplish a skill that they have been working on for a long time. He has traveled around Europe and lived in Moscow for four months. He is a professional photographer.

Justin Richardson

Justin Richardson
Safety Team Lead, Head Deck Manager

Justin has been working with SWIMkids USA since 2010, where he has worked as a swim instructor, deck manager, and trainer. Prior, Justin was a swim coach and a lifeguard for the city of Scottsdale for two years.

Lance Whitehead

Lance Whitehead
Accounting Manager

Lance Whitehead has been working for SWIMkids USA since 1995. As the eldest son of owner and founder, Lana Whitehead, Lance is THE original student for SWIMkids USA's famous Swim-Float-Swim sequence that has helped to keep so many children safe and swimming happily.

When you come in during the holidays you will notice how wonderfully decorated the front desk is. Thanks to Lance's creativity and hard work, SWIMkids USA becomes a holiday wonderland respective the seasonal holiday. Lance takes great joy in seeing the kids' faces light up with excitement at the extraordinary decorations.

Lance is the eldest of three boys. Lance's mother, Lana, is the founder and owner of SWIMkids USA, established in 1971.

Mark Boelter

Mark Boelter

Mark Boelter began his journey with SWIMkids USA in 2014, as a customer service specialist, swim instructor, deck manager and office worker. His favorite things about SWIMkids USA are the friendly environment, the close staff family and, of course, the kids.

“The best part of teaching is providing a lasting impression,” he said. “I like to know I’ve made a direct impact in somebody’s life, and if the in the future they look back at their childhood and remember me, I would be incredibly honored.”

Here’s a fun fact- Mark is all about chivalry! In fact, he was the youngest contracted worker at the Arizona Renaissance Festival. These days, he passes time studying at Rio Salado College and building customized computers.

Marie Carter

Marie Carter
Dance Team Lead

Marie has been charming the hearts of children and parents alike here at SWIMkids USA since January of 2011. A job in the water was only natural after being a swimmer for 12 years. Prior to saving lives as an aquatic instructor in our pools, Marie saved lives as a lifeguard at Big Surf. Marie has always been a very active person, she did cheer for six years, tumbling, and dance. This lead her to teach cheer and dance for four years which translates well into teaching somersaults and back flips in our gym program. Marie is still as active as ever and in her free time she can often be found at the gym working out or doing yoga. She loves the weather in Arizona because it allows her to spend time outside hiking the trails or wakeboarding at the lake. You might start to see Marie outside of her role as an instructor, as she just finished her training to be an assistant deck manager. Marie is currently a student at MCC and plans to transfer to ASU to receive her bachelor's in Psychology with a minor in Spanish. Her love of the Spanish language led her to study abroad for a summer in Spain!

Natalie Gonzalez

Natalie Gonzalez

Natalie is a swim Instructor who is lifeguard certified and Water Safety Instructor certified with Bachelors degree in psychology. Natalie loves seeing the joy in a child's face as they learn and she loves seeing their energy and curiosity. Natalie is working on a master's degree in clinical mental health counseling. She loves photography.

Nathan Askins

Nathan Askins

Nathan is social media director, front desk specialist and an aquatics instructor. He is working on his English degree and preparing for law school. He loves seeing his students learn and grow in their skill level. He says there is nothing better than knowing he has made someone's life better.

Nikolas David Rivera

Nikolas David Rivera

Nikolas is a swim and gym instructor as well as a deck manager. He is lifeguard, CPR and first aid certified. He enjoys the joy he sees in a student's face when they master a skill. Nikolas is studying to be a nurse. He was a diver in high school.

Sage Donaldson

Sage Donaldson

Sage is a swim instructor with lifeguard and EMT certification. She loves forming bonds with her students and their parents. She especially enjoys it when a student has been struggling with a skill and then, with work is able to master it. Sage is in a band, is a professional florist and is in school to study agriculture.

Seth Wilcock

Seth Wilcock

Seth is a senior aquatics instructor, swim coach and the business systems leader. He is CPR and lifeguard certified, ASHI and CPO certified. He has an associates degree in business. His goal is to make sure his students leave his class with a smile. Seth and his wife Leah have a daughter. He is working on a bachelor of science degree in economics. He loves music and plays the drums. A fun fact is that he is a watch collector.

Shana Edmundson

Shana Edmundson

Shana is a dance instructor and Zumba instructor. She has a Bachelor of Arts in theater arts and a minor in business. Shana loves to help build confidence and strong self-esteem in her students.

Shaunna Risinger

Shaunna Risinger
Director of Customer Experience

Shaunna is the director of customer experience as well as a swim coach and instructor. She is a tumble bugs instructor. Shaunna has a bachelor of science in family studies and human development. She's EMT-B certified and a mom to two daughters. Shaunna loves the feeling she gets knowing that she has the opportunity to be a part of her students lives. She says whether it is teaching them to being safer, boosting their cognitive development, helping them achieve their goals through success in my classes, or just giving them a reason to smile, she is glad to be part of their experience of learning to swim. She loves theater and music and was a swimmer and diver during high school.

Thomas Davis

Thomas Davis

Thomas is a swim instructor with swim instructor certification. He enjoys helping his students become safer around the water and he likes watching them have fun. He also teaches children soccer and basketball.

Tim Walker

Tim Walker

Tim is a swim instructor and facilities manager. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and he is first aid, CPR and AED certified. Tim gave us this quote about his passion for teaching young swimmers: “100 years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, or the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be different because I made a difference in the life of a child”. Tim learned to swim in the ocean in Southern California. He served in the armed forces as an emergency medical US Navy corpsman working with the US marines in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and in Somalia tracking down pirates. Tim offers this inspirational message by Alan Watts : "To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you'll sink and drown. Instead you will relax and float."

Tristan Brown

Tristan Brown

Tristan is a swim instructor who has had in-depth training for his job. He loves to see his student's smiling faces and he can't wait to get out of bed in the morning so he can go to help them learn. He says he likes to make things and once he sees something he can usually make it from scratch all on his own.